It’s Bravio day in Montepulciano. I always greet this day with excitement mixed with sadness. Excitement because August is the best month in Montepulciano–loaded with visitors, our town swells in proportion and you can walk around at night, bumping into people who are animatedly shopping, slurping melting gelato, or eating local specialties in one of the contradas. It feels like you’re in an actual city. And the annual barrel race is the culmination of weeks of celebration. But Bravio day is always bittersweet because it marks the official end to summer. And even as the drums begin a slow echo through the town this morning, they signal that my work is about to be over for another season and a long winter lies ahead.
As usual, I haven’t found much time to write as my days at the winery are long. It’s been a fabulous season and the next two months will be our busiest before our visitors begin to trickle away. I marked these last months with my birthday celebration with my friends Keith and Tania in Cortona. They prepared a fabulous sushi dinner for me… the first in four years! And despite hitting the big 43 this year, last night as I was dining on roasted duck with my friend Janet in one of the Contradas, I got hit on by a guy who was at least ten years my junior. All very flattering of course, but when I pointed to his wedding ring, he just smiled in that irrepressible way that the men do here, which says “you can’t blame a guy for trying.” Having learned my lesson with fruit vendors past, I of course didn’t give him my number but will admit I am glad I seem to be attracting a bit younger crowd than the usual pensioners!
I have managed on my infrequent days off to get some pool time in and have accepted pretty much every invitation that has come my way. Dinner with friends and getting together with the gang from my wine course. We have a field trip next weekend to the Antinori vineyards near Florence so I hope to go and catch up with more of them. The second part of the Sommelier course will begin next month and I am really looking forward to that. My homework for the summer was to taste wine and you will be pleased to know that I have been a very dedicated student!
Last weekend, my friend Janet sponsored a memorial concert for her husband Ken who died last November. His friends and his sister came from around the globe to attend. We had a weekend of remembering him and on his birthday last sunday, we accompanied Janet to sprinkle his ashes in the countryside where he spent so many hours painting his beautiful landscapes of Montepulciano. We toasted him with lots of wine and carrot cake! I think he would have approved!
Here’s hoping for sunny skies today for the big race (FORZA GRACCIANO!!!) and a gorgeous autumn ahead. The grape harvest is just around the corner and Tuscany is radiant!